ESPNShaka Smart is leaving Virginia Commonwealth to coach the Texas Longhorns. VCU sports information director Scott Day confirmed to reporters gathered at the campus Thursday night that Smart was making the move. Smart met with VCU players earlier in the evening at the Siegel Center, the team’s home arena, and at least one player was seen crying when he left. Texas athletic director Steve Patterson flew to Richmond, Virginia, on Thursday to close the deal. Smart, who won at least 26 games in each of his six seasons at VCU, has been one of the hottest names in college coaching since leading the Rams to the Final Four in 2011. Patterson zeroed in on bringing Smart to Texas immediately after firing former Longhorns coach Rick Barnes over the weekend. Barnes later was hired at Tennessee. Terms of Smart’s contract were not immediately released. Barnes made $2.62 million last season. Smart made $1.8 million with the Rams.
This is a huge win for the University Of Texas, because Shaka Smart is not only a great coach, but he is just 37-years-old, and the energy that he brings to campus could quickly reinvigorate a program that has felt stale for years. The style of play at the University of Texas is about to get a complete overhaul under Shaka Smart, as the full court press and an uptempo offense will make Texas more fun to watch, and will make games more exciting for students and alumni. Shaka Smart had a lot of success at VCU, but he was a big fish in a small pond, and everyone knew it was only a matter of time before he left for a program that is nationally relevant. The University of Texas deserves to have a great basketball team, and recruiting talented players should not be difficult, it seems that Shaka Smart is the perfect coach to turn this program around.